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Outdoor worksites in summer bring increased need for safety

Across Maryland, commercial activity outside spikes during summertime, of course. Some kinds of work require warm weather. So, we are seeing an increase in construction sites, road repair, recreational and tourism activity, agricultural work, lawn care and landscaping, and similar trades. 

Employers should protect workers from: 

  • Direct and reflected sunlight that can cause potentially severe sunburn
  • Increased heat and humidity that can cause heat stroke and other heat-related medical conditions
  • Dehydration
  • Severe storms, rain and flooding

Federal and state work safety laws require that employers take particular safety measures in certain industries. In addition to industry-specific requirements, additional safety practices that employers may want to consider include: 

  • More frequent breaks to take shelter inside or to hydrate
  • Additional access to water
  • Protective clothing
  • Erected awnings to provide shade
  • Protective eyewear
  • Postpone particularly strenuous or arduous work for a cooler day
  • Shorter shifts
  • Special attention to those new on the job
  • Fans and misting equipment 

When summer work activity involves the use of heavy or dangerous equipment, employers need to take care to maintain and repair equipment that may have sat idle for months. 

Maryland Secretary of Labor Kelly Schulz recently released an open letter to state employers asking for a “heightened level of awareness when it comes to worker safety” this summer, including “deliberate safety training.” She also encourages workers to “say ‘no’” if they face safety concerns on the job this summer and report problems to management.

The letter includes safety tips for employers, including use of a buddy system and careful communication to workers about safety practices. Secretary Schulz describes state resources to help employers to implement safety practices and to comply with industry safety standards required by law. 

Regardless of safety practices, when accidents happen and workers are injured, they should get medical attention and talk to an attorney as soon as possible about their right to Workers’ Compensation benefits.  

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